John Smith became a veterinary surgeon and his professional career largely took place in Northern Rhodesia, where he established the colony's main agricultural research station at Mazabuka, and became head of the veterinary service. He saw the end of company rule and the establishment of the crown colony in 1923 and served in the Legislative and Executive Councils. This book is Smith's account of inter-war life in a crown colony. Social life revolved around the club, and rigid class distinctions ruled relations between officials, professional people and planters. Outside this circle were artisans and miners, some from South Africa, and a few distinguished chiefs, who stood out against the mass of the African population who formed the vast backdrop. These diaries and letters provide a portrait of a close-knit colonial society.
John Smith, veterinary surgeon; off to Africa; setting foot in Africa; the history of Zambia; ready for the bulls; preparing to trek; my first trek; an unusual Christmas; sour milk and crocodiles; Shangive - medicine chief; slave trade, 1914; our food and our fun; out on trek and back on form; egrets and hippos; two lions and two ponies; unknowingly at war; waiting for news; a nightmare journey; dancing the fever away; blushing beneath his tan; death of the chief; the mosquito has the last bite; "doing his bit"; my new life and my old; crown colony; the club; morena, noka e eli (chief, the river has gone); mining, benefits and problems; agriculture, my responsibility; a momentous decision; epilogue; postscript.